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News: Smart energy metering challenge issued

Energy regulator Ofgem wants energy suppliers to introduce widespread ‘smart’ metering to households across the UK.

Smart meters could put an end to estimated bills and the need for meter readers to call as well as cutting household energy consumption, which would deliver savings in carbon emissions and on bills.

The government recently signalled its interest in smart metering, by allocating money in the budget for a pilot scheme and Ofgem is discussing with government a possible role in managing the trial.

Energy suppliers have been slow to embrace smart metering citing the cost of fitting them as a barrier to widespread uptake. The wide variety of types of metering and regulatory issues are also barriers to their introduction.

Ofgem will form an industry-wide group to set standards for smart meters and remove the regulatory barriers that suppliers face in installing smart meters in customers’ homes. This includes requirements to inspect meters every two years, which reduces the cost savings of installing meters that can be remotely read

Ofgem’s chief executive Alistair Buchanan, said: "Ofgem is determined to play our part in paving the way for a more widespread take-up of smart meters by removing regulatory barriers that make it difficult for suppliers to install smart meters."

"Such are the potential benefits of smart meters that wait and see is not an option. It is now up to suppliers to rise to the challenge to deliver a smarter future for the household energy meter."

"Energy suppliers are in the best position to offer a range of smarter meters which best meet the individual needs of customers. Better information, like showing energy consumption in pounds and pence, will empower customers to manage their energy consumption more effectively, helping them to cut bills and reduce carbon emissions."

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